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bighark


Apr 8, 2006, 3:12 PM

Post #76 of 128 (2529 views)
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Re: [fionayale] Multicultral/Political Writing [In reply to] Can't Post

fionayle, is that a statement you're making as someone who's lived there?

If what you say about Bloomington is true, I wonder how IU can attract the faculty that maintains some of the finest arts and music programs in the country.

Maybe IU has a bunch of rowdy undergrads, but show me a school that doesn't.


HopperFu


Apr 8, 2006, 3:22 PM

Post #77 of 128 (2522 views)
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how to get the skinny on a program [In reply to] Can't Post

Um, whomever it is that is thinking about Indiana here: talk to some of the current students and the faculty. Students will give you the straight dope about everything, from the profs to the town to the rent to the administrative assistant who always loses his keys.
You're getting a lot of bluster from people here. Has anybody who is actually posting about the MFA program at Indiana actually gone to the MFA program at Indiana?
I mean, I have no clue if it is a good program or a good place to live, but this seems like the sort of fairly important life decision that shouldn't be based on second or third hand advice.
Indiana should be willing to give you phone numbers or emails of current students. They will also probably set-up a chance for you to talk to the profs if you would like.


augustmaria


Apr 8, 2006, 3:35 PM

Post #78 of 128 (2516 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] how to get the skinny on a program [In reply to] Can't Post

Agreed.

In my brief experience (read: since this past Tuesday) with Indiana, I've found the faculty to be extremely available and willing to answer any of my questions. I've also contacted current students and have had the same outcome. Let me just say that, again from my own limited knowledge of the program, a lot of what has been discussed in this forum about Indiana's program is bull. Get your info, like HopperFu wisely suggests, from the people you really want to be listening to.


mingram
Mike Ingram

Apr 8, 2006, 4:14 PM

Post #79 of 128 (2504 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] how to get the skinny on a program [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, I'd ditto HopperFu's advice: call the program, get in touch with actual students. If I'd listened to the second-, third-, and fourth-hand grumblings about Iowa, rather than talking to students here, I would have had a very ill-informed conception of the program.

I think this board is particularly helpful when you're trying to decide where to apply, and for gauging how competitive and subjective this process is. But once you get in somewhere, you can get information directly from the source -- faculty, current students, maybe even former students. That's a much better source than an outsider's interpretation of a few lines from a school's web site, or the kind of "I knew someone who knew someone whose sister said Ohio State's teachers only liked experimental fiction" things that crop up on message boards.

I think you can expect the students to be honest about the pros and cons of the program -- they don't have anything at stake in trying to convince you to go there. It's also probably a good idea to talk to multiple people and try to balance what you hear. One person may be miserable at a particular program for reasons that have nothing to do with the program itself (they miss the ocean, they have a crappy apartment, someone trashed their story last week in workshop). So the more opinions you can get, the better.

Good luck.


theapplepicker


Apr 8, 2006, 4:53 PM

Post #80 of 128 (2494 views)
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Re: [bighark] Multicultral/Political Writing [In reply to] Can't Post

Right on.

I've read a fair bit about Bloomington, Indiana lately, and from my research, it seems to me that Bloomington is sort of an oasis in the desert of pretty depressing (to me, at least) ideologies that are commonly found in the Midwest.

In fact, a friend of mine (who will soon be graduating from IU with a BFA in art) told me essentially the same thing.

All this speculation and friend-of-a-friend BS about Bloomington is frustrating to me.

After I've been there for a semester, I'll report back on my experience.


HopperFu


Apr 8, 2006, 5:02 PM

Post #81 of 128 (2489 views)
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Re: [theapplepicker] Multicultral/Political Writing [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
After I've been there for a semester, I'll report back on my experience.



I'm sure that future applicants / accepted students will appreciate that. I know that I have greatly appreciated contributions by people like Mike Ingram (Iowa) and Sarandippidy (Cornell), who were able to shed light on programs I was considering.


clarabow


Apr 9, 2006, 9:57 AM

Post #82 of 128 (2451 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Multicultral/Political Writing [In reply to] Can't Post

All this talk about Indiana is really becoming incredibly stupid. Sorry. But it is. And I've said some of the stupid things, I'm sure. The fact is, Indiana is great, and most of us seem to be nitpicking about crap we know nothing about! :) To suggest that Indiana is picking people based on race is...so absurd it deserves no more attention on these boards. And to suggest that Bloomington is an awful place to live is hilarious. People love saying New Haven is a dump, but is that a reason to turn down Yale? Indiana is one in the "MFA Ivy League", as far as I'm concerned...and so are Iowa, Columbia, Montana, UMass, Virginia, Davis and all the other top programs that have been discussed on these boards. Oliviasfortunes, AugustMaria, Apple Picker...wherever you decide to go, you all have excellent choices and are going to be pretty happy at any of those (very equal) places.

Oliviasfortunes, where are you from? I ask because you seem really concerned with location...are you nervous about moving to the Midwest?


oliviasfortunes


Apr 9, 2006, 10:00 AM

Post #83 of 128 (2449 views)
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Re: [clarabow] Multicultral/Political Writing [In reply to] Can't Post

I grew up in a tiny town in Iowa. So, no, not afraid of the Midwest!

Thanks for your comments, Clarabow (and everyone else).

I see a lot of good things at both programs. Indiana seems like a great place. I'd be interested to hear what people think of the faculty, if you've read anything by them. I'd love to hear some opinions on their work and it'd be fun to have a more grown-up, literary discussion about Indiana! Feel free to PM me.

And I did email to schedule phone calls with students next week, so thanks for pushing me to do that. I didn't want to seem pushy with the students, but I guess that was a silly thing of me to think.


(This post was edited by oliviasfortunes on Apr 9, 2006, 10:03 AM)


theapplepicker


Apr 9, 2006, 3:05 PM

Post #84 of 128 (2420 views)
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Re: [oliviasfortunes] Multicultral/Political Writing [In reply to] Can't Post

Oliviasfortunes--Just last night I reserved several books from IU faculty (poetry & fiction) at my local library. I'll read and report when I'm able. I already own 1-800-HOT-RIBS (which is an effing rad title, if you ask me) by Catherine Bowman, and I've read other poetry faculty's poems. When it comes to fiction, though, I'll admit to not having a very sophisticated understanding of mechanics. I know what I like, though.

Try to see if you can borrow IU fiction faculty books from your local library. It'd probably be best if you didn't have to rely on my evaluation or anyone else's, but still, I'll do what I can.


oliviasfortunes


Apr 9, 2006, 5:31 PM

Post #85 of 128 (2398 views)
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Re: [theapplepicker] Multicultral/Political Writing [In reply to] Can't Post

Actually, I've read a couple of the faculty...that's what drew me to the program. I just thought it'd be fun to talk about them :).

I'm really into Scott Russell Sanders. I think he's awesome.


theapplepicker


Apr 9, 2006, 6:19 PM

Post #86 of 128 (2389 views)
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Re: [oliviasfortunes] Multicultral/Political Writing [In reply to] Can't Post

I've never read any of his fiction, but when he was in my hometown as the keynote speaker for a local college's workshop, he read some of his nonfiction. I loved it.


oliviasfortunes


Apr 9, 2006, 7:44 PM

Post #87 of 128 (2365 views)
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Re: [theapplepicker] Multicultral/Political Writing [In reply to] Can't Post

Do you know if he teaches any nonfiction workshops? I should put that on my list of questions for the students...


theredscarf


Apr 9, 2006, 8:21 PM

Post #88 of 128 (2356 views)
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Private Indiana Chat [In reply to] Can't Post

Phew! I'm a newbie and a bit overwhelmed by all the Indiana posts.

I'm going to Indiana this fall. I'd love to talk to anyone who plans to attend Indiana this fall (or already lives there) via Private Messages. I'm nervous about moving to Bloomington, even though I love the program, so do get in touch if you're headed that way.

Yeah!


theapplepicker


Apr 9, 2006, 8:54 PM

Post #89 of 128 (2351 views)
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Re: [oliviasfortunes] Multicultral/Political Writing [In reply to] Can't Post

I couldn't say for sure. But, putting two and two together, I would guess that he does: his bio says that his main work is in literary nonfiction, and IU does have a nonfic workshop, W615: Writing Creative Nonfiction. Let me know what you find out!


oliviasfortunes


Apr 9, 2006, 10:51 PM

Post #90 of 128 (2328 views)
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Re: [theapplepicker] Multicultral/Political Writing [In reply to] Can't Post

Congrats, Red Scarf!

ApplePicker, I'll let you know what I find out about Sanders' courses. He's got a nice quote on the Indiana picture tour page.

This is a little unrelated, but tonight I finished reading The Master of Monterey, a novel by Lawrence Coates. It is one of the best books I've read in ages. AugustMaria, you might want to look at it. I didn't apply to Bowling Green, but only because I had limited funds with which to apply to schools. He could be a cool person to study with (I don't know your style or who you feel allegiance to at Indiana...but I really liked this book, and I think he's written at least one more, which I will seek out on Amazon).

ApplePicker, have you read A Companion for Owls? It's a wonderful book of poems. I like the way it takes on a character's voice, sort of like Bishop did when she wrote from the perspective of Robinson Crusoe.


oliviasfortunes


Apr 9, 2006, 10:54 PM

Post #91 of 128 (2327 views)
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Re: [oliviasfortunes] Multicultral/Political Writing [In reply to] Can't Post

Sorry, I've become totally paranoid by this board...in just one small way...and that is...August, I didn't mean I didn't think you'd like the professors at Indiana. Hell, I like them a lot. I just meant...I was trying to be helpful, and then when I re-read the post I thought that, in light of the recent controversy on the thread, it might sounds like I was being dismissive of Indiana. That's not what I meant at all.

But seriously, everyone should check out Lawrence Coates. He's one of my new favorites :).


fionayale


Apr 9, 2006, 11:02 PM

Post #92 of 128 (2322 views)
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Re: [theapplepicker] Multicultral/Political Writing [In reply to] Can't Post

Scott Sanders is a world-class essayist! I recommend "The Force of Spirit", a wonderful collection.

I believe Lawrence Coates directs the program at Bowling Green. I think he won Barnes and Noble's Discover New Writers Award recently (I remember seeing it on that special shelf at the store in our mall!). That's how I discovered his work. From what I can tell, he had some good commercial success with that book. It got quite a bit of exposure. Michael Czyzniejewski has a reputation for being an excellent mentor. He has edited stories for a lot of successful, talented writers in his capacity as the editor at various publications, not least of which is Mid-American Review.

Congrats, August. You can't go wrong. And congrats to Apple and Red Scarf...and everyone! It's exciting to see all of you making these big decisions.


clarabow


Apr 9, 2006, 11:15 PM

Post #93 of 128 (2318 views)
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Re: [fionayale] Multicultral/Political Writing [In reply to] Can't Post

Don't worry, Olivasfortunes. I think everyone is getting over it now.

Scott Sanders is great. I recently read an essay of his in a literary journal. I've been sitting here racking my brain, but I can't remember which journal...it was really recent, so maybe someone here knows...

I like Lawrence Coates, too! I discovered him through the Barnes and Noble series, as well. First I was drawn to the book because I loved the cover (http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbninquiry.asp?z=y&isbn=087417337X); then I opened it up and was immediately attracted to the prose.

Have you read Theresa Williams "The Secret of Hurricanes"? It's here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1931561109/qid=1144638471/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/002-4881112-1922409?s=books&v=glance&n=283155 "The Secret of Hurricanes" is a beautiful, beautiful book. Stylistically, very unique. Gorgeous language. She writes fiction like a poet. I attended one of her readings. She took the time to answer questions from writing students afterwards and was very smart, very kind and very original.


theapplepicker


Apr 10, 2006, 10:12 AM

Post #94 of 128 (2281 views)
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Re: [oliviasfortunes] Multicultral/Political Writing [In reply to] Can't Post

No, I haven't yet read A Companion for Owls. My local library doesn't have it. I almost bought it online last night, but I guess it's only available so far in hardcover, and I don't really like reading hardcover books that much. Instead I ordered 3 poetry books by other faculty and the collected works of Lorine Neidecker.

I have to thank my brother again for that gift card!


oliviasfortunes


Apr 10, 2006, 10:21 AM

Post #95 of 128 (2274 views)
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Re: [theapplepicker] Multicultral/Political Writing [In reply to] Can't Post

I love Lorine Niedecker. A fellow midwesterner! Does she teach anywhere?


theapplepicker


Apr 10, 2006, 12:09 PM

Post #96 of 128 (2251 views)
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Re: [oliviasfortunes] Multicultral/Political Writing [In reply to] Can't Post

Unfortunately, no. She passed away some time ago.


HopperFu


Apr 10, 2006, 12:37 PM

Post #97 of 128 (2242 views)
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Re: [oliviasfortunes] Multicultral/Political Writing [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Sorry, I've become totally paranoid by this board...in just one small way...and that is...August, I didn't mean I didn't think you'd like the professors at Indiana. Hell, I like them a lot. I just meant...I was trying to be helpful, and then when I re-read the post I thought that, in light of the recent controversy on the thread, it might sounds like I was being dismissive of Indiana. That's not what I meant at all.

But seriously, everyone should check out Lawrence Coates. He's one of my new favorites :).



Oliviasfortunes: I think the concern (well at least mine), was that people were bashing Indiana without appearing to actually know anything about it. If you've read the profs or met the profs and don't like them, I think that's fair game (since, you know, you aren't just pulling your opinion out of thin air).
I don't really give a crap one way or another about Indiana, but I think unless people can give concrete reasons why something is bad, we shouldn't just trash it.


oliviasfortunes


Apr 10, 2006, 1:08 PM

Post #98 of 128 (2237 views)
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Re: [theapplepicker] Multicultral/Political Writing [In reply to] Can't Post

Haha, I was trying to make a joke (about MFA programs and finding out where people teach)...maybe I should stick to writing, wink!

Hopper, thanks. I don't feel so weird about my post now.


augustmaria


Apr 11, 2006, 9:26 PM

Post #99 of 128 (2200 views)
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Indiana Fiction [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, the MFA-application dance is finally over for me. I've accepted Indiana's offer.



(theapplepicker, hi!!!)


bighark


Apr 11, 2006, 9:39 PM

Post #100 of 128 (2193 views)
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Re: [augustmaria] Indiana Fiction [In reply to] Can't Post

Congratulations!

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